Social Sciences Book Reviews

SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED by Jon Ronson
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: March 31, 2015

"Another intriguing journey from Ronson, who notes that our social media dark side grows ever darker when we believe we're superior to others—and anonymous."
The author of works about everyday psychopathologies takes a hard look at the dark side of shaming on social media. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 24, 2015

"An impressive debut offering explanations based on coherence between people, cases and the events they adjudicated."
Center for American Progress senior constitutional policy analyst Millhiser assesses the damage caused by the Supreme Court to the Constitution, government and the citizens whose rights have repeatedly been curtailed or abrogated in arbitrary, capricious, bigoted and arrogant proceedings. Read full book review >

WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU'LL BE by Frank Bruni
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 17, 2015

"Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions."
New York Times op-ed columnist Bruni (Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater, 2009, etc.) shows why rejection by an Ivy League college need not be a disaster and may even be a blessing. Read full book review >
RECAPITULATIONS by Vincent Crapanzano
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 2015

"Crapanzano's self-conscious, self-analytical style makes this a unique and interesting search for lost time."
A book of memories about the act of remembering. Read full book review >
TERMS OF SERVICE by Jacob Silverman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 17, 2015

"Intelligent, provocative and illuminating in the author's argument that social media companies must examine their ethics and find business models that don't depend on perpetual surveillance of customers."
Freelancer Silverman, a celebrated Jeopardy! champion and contributor to Slate, the Atlantic and other publications, debuts with a deep and disquieting plunge into digital culture.Read full book review >

STUFFOCATION by James Wallman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 10, 2015

"A provocative, challenging discourse likely to spur some to action."
A reasoned and passionate argument for culling the clutter and plugging into the joys of experiential living. Read full book review >
OUR KIDS by Robert D. Putnam
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 10, 2015

"An insightful book that paints a disturbing picture of the collapse of the working class and the growth of an upper class that seems to be largely unaware of the other's precarious existence."
A political scientist calls attention to the widening class-based opportunity gap among young people in the United States. Read full book review >
LOVING LEARNING by Tom Little
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 2, 2015

"Little's enthusiasm and passion for the potential of progressive schools burn on every page and offer hope for a better way forward."
One of the leaders of the progressive education movement reflects on ways to improve more than just standardized test scores. Read full book review >
DATA AND GOLIATH by Bruce Schneier
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 2, 2015

"An accessible, detailed look at a disturbing aspect of contemporary life."
A jeremiad suggesting our addiction to data may have made privacy obsolete. Read full book review >
IS SHAME NECESSARY? by Jennifer Jacquet
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Feb. 17, 2015

"A sharp and surprising dissertation that puts the many facets of shame in a whole new light."
An intellectually stimulating discussion of shame and its enduring place in the digital age. Read full book review >
I AM NOT A SLUT by Leora Tanenbaum
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A significant, spirited analysis sure to be embraced by feminists and deserving of wide attention."
An enthusiastic update on the state of female sexual liberation in contemporary society. Read full book review >
THE ALMOST NEARLY PERFECT PEOPLE by Michael Booth
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Feb. 1, 2015

"Blithely reporting on the many quirks in dress (Norwegian dirndls), food (an odiferous Icelandic fish specialty) and excessive drinking (everywhere) that he encountered on his journeys, Booth offers an affectionate, observant, engaging look at Scandinavia, where trust, modesty and equality proudly prevail."
A shrewd look at Nordic life. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >